Lonesome Rangers by John Leonard
Homeless Minds, Promised Lands, Fugitive Cultures

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Synopsis

John Leonard, “the fastest wit in the East” (The New York Times Book Review), is back with the offbeat, wide-ranging style that earned his last book, When the Kissing Had to Stop, a place among the Voice Literary Supplement’s “25 Favorites of 1999.” Now, with an eye to the social and political experience of writers, Leonard adopts a broad definition of exile.

He addresses Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, where exile manifests itself in solitary bowling, a reflection of a declining sense of community. He considers Salman Rushdie as rock’n’roll Orpheus, who—after ten years in fatwa-enforced exile—bears a striking resemblance to his continually disappearing characters. And Leonard also explores Primo Levi’s exile of survival, Bruce Chatwin’s self-imposed exile in travel, as well as the work of Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Phillip Roth, Barbara Kingsolver, and Don DeLillo, among others.

As always, Leonard’s writing jumps off the page, engaging the reader in what the Washington Post calls his “laugh-out-loud magic with words.”


 

About John Leonard

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Critic John Leonard was born in Washington on February 25, 1939. He attended Harvard University from 1956 to 1958 and later studied briefly at the University of California, Berkeley. He wrote numerous books including Smoke and Mirrors: Violence, Television and Other American Cultures (1997) and When the Kissing Had to Stop: Cult Studs, Khmer Newts, Langley Spooks, Techno-Geeks, Video Drones, Author Gods, Serial Killers, Vampire Media, Alien Sperm-Suckers, Satanic Therapists, and Those of Us Who Hold a Left-Wing Grudge in the Post Toasties New World Hip-Hop (1999). His work also appeared in the New York Times, Harper's Magazine, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, The Village Voice and The Washington Post Book World. He received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle in 2006. He died from complications of lung cancer on November 5, 2008 at the age of 69.
 
Published February 1, 2002 by The New Press. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Lonesome Rangers

Kirkus Reviews

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A section on “The Politics of Fiction” contains more ambitious pieces, including a pointed contrast between Atlanta novels by Toni Cade Bambara and Tom Wolfe, tightly reasoned tributes to Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible and the ingeniously engineered novels of Richard Powers, and a long...

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Publishers Weekly

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A CBS and NPR commentator, New York magazine reviewer and literary editor for the Nation, Leonard (This Pen for Hire, etc.) has also worked as editor of the New York Times Book Review.

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